Yesterday we discussed who could fill in for Ryan Jack and Jordan Rossiter, in light of the former’s red card v Hamilton and the latter’s latest injury blight.
We suggested Graham Dorrans as a possibility to fit in at defensive midfield, given his surprising retreat as far back as it in most matches this season, while also giving the shout to fringe man Jason Holt.
However, we must confess we completely omitted arguably the best option of the lot, and are thankful to our readers for giving the old memory a jolt.
Jamie Barjonas has been a ‘promising talent’ for a very long time now, and in all his cameos for the first team has impressed. He has not played much, but the midfield anchor has looked every inch the part.
With a gaping vacancy now evident in the heart of Rangers’ midfield, while we do reckon Holt can do a half decent job in there, a dedicated deep-lying midfielder who does it every match is arguably a better option, even if experience is a problem.
It is an issue, of course, with St Johnstone being joint with Rangers on points and only behind in the table on goal difference; the stakes are pretty high on this one. And so we do not want to put untold pressure on a young player’s shoulders (Barjonas is a tender 18 years old) – it may have contributed a little to young Ross McCrorie’s poor display at the SuperSeal.
But at the same time needs must as the devil drives. We rate Jamie very highly indeed, and the only real way for a young player to truly grow is by being put in a truly ecologically valid testbed – and there is no better one in football than a first team start in a high-pressured league game.
McCrorie passed his Celtic test brilliantly – and wobbled v Hamilton. The lad shows huge promise and we think he could be a future player for the club if he can learn and grow.
Barjonas is cut from the same cloth – a composed and intelligent young midfield player, he was not fazed by his taste of the first team last season, and Pedro Caixinha was only too happy to give him the chance.
While there does remain the slim chance of Rossiter regaining fitness before the trip to St Johnstone, chances are Pedro has a big call to make.
Who would you readers choose in defensive midfield?